The openness of judiciary in the region and in Albania
On 2016, judicial bodies of the Western Balkan countries did not perform satisfactory results regarding openness. Most of the basic indicators of performance were not met by regional courts and prosecution offices, scoring together in average 44% of institutional openness. One of the main findings of the measurements for the year 2016 was the lack of online web pages of these institutions, raising the concern of taken verdicts not being published to the citizens.
For this year measurement, members of the ActionSEE network undertook improvement and modification of the research methodology and its indicators on the basis of results and findings from the monitoring conducted in the previous year, hoping that the new information obtained would contribute to better project results. The main purpose of using new and improved indicators is to add a new dimension to the research and more efficient approach to improvement of openness of institutions in the region.
The openness of judiciary in the region of Western Balkan for this year’s measurement meets 36% of the indicator’s performance. This result that shows a decreasing performance of judicial bodies is an alarm bell to the transparency, openness, and accountability of the administrative activity of these institutions. The challenges of the ongoing reform all over the region for these bodies, as well as the low score on transparency, do not give the perception that concrete commitments are being taken to promote transparency, citizens’ empowerment, and anti-corruption actions. Open government is not only a goal for the executive and legislative powers, but it is also a need for the judiciary, to understand what it can do to improve government, society, and democracy (OGP, 2016).
We would like to point out that this year’s research comprised and advocated a higher degree of openness of institutions in relation to last year, adding new indicators by which this openness is measured, and thus tightening the measurement criteria themselves. We believe that such tightening approach to the research added up to the fact that the results show a decrease in the openness of the judicial bodies. On the other hand, the results and analyzed data show that the judiciary has not made any effort to develop openness since the publishing of the previous results, so new indicators are not of crucial importance for a general decline in the openness.
Concrete and urgent steps should be taken to improve the performance of this power to rebuild the public trust into the judicial bodies. Our policy paper is addressed to decision-makers in courts and prosecutor’s offices in the regional countries. It may be useful for representatives of international institutions and NGO colleagues, who tackle these issues. We remain at your disposal for all suggestions, benevolent critics and discussion regarding our policy paper.